Cleaning vs. Sanitization: What’s the Difference?

April 29, 2022

2020 popularized many things: working from home, video calls, masks, and you guessed it – extreme cleaning in the form of sanitization. As the world continues to recover from the pandemic, many facilities are opting to maintain their sanitization habits in an effort to promote a healthier workplace for staff and clients alike. When it comes to cleaning vs. sanitization, the term “cleaning” is generally used to describe any effort to make something tidier and more organized than before, but the act of cleaning itself can take on many different forms. Cleaning refers to tackling surface level messes and contaminants by vacuuming, wiping, light cleaner usage, mopping, etc. Sanitization, on the other hand, is more thorough and goes as far as completely killing existing germs and contaminants to a safe level, making the space or surface sanitary and safe. Sanitization is best for facilities that handle sensitive business, such as food facilities, medical facilities, educational facilities, or anywhere there may require a germ-free environment. Knowing which type of sanitization service, you need for your facility can be tricky, which is why we have compiled the best tips on sanitization so that you can make the most informed decision.

Benefits of Sanitization

Sanitization kills existing germs and pathogens on surfaces, and often involves the use of harsher cleaning products such as bleach or rubbing alcohol. Sanitization is best for spaces that cater to vulnerable populations such as hospitals and senior care facilities, which often have established public health standards or requirements for cleaning. Whether it be guest areas, food preparation and storage, restrooms, or total facility coverage, proper sanitization methods also provide peace of mind to all those working and frequenting the facility. Because there is no such thing as “too sanitary,” the benefits of sanitization for your facility are endless. From improved facility health to peace of mind knowing that where you sit, eat, or work has been safely rid of germs, you cannot go wrong with sanitizing your facility even periodically.

Important Considerations for Sanitizing

Sanitization leaves your facility sparkling clean – even under a microscope – but there are a few things to consider when choosing sanitization over general cleaning. If you are concerned about potential accidental exposure to harmful chemicals used in the sanitization process, then sticking to frequent deep cleaning or hiring a professional cleaning company to handle your sanitization will be the best option for you. Following procedure and wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) are your two rules of thumb when it comes to sanitization. A few basic safety practices to remember during sanitization include:

  • Proper chemical and tool storage
  • Avoiding the mixing of cleaners
  • Wearing gloves and eye protection
  • Practicing poison control procedures in an emergency

When storing all chemicals and tools used in the sanitization process, it is important to store all materials upright, sealed, and in their original containers. Products that contain harmful components are manufactured to come in packaging that minimizes accidental exposure or spilling and should therefore not be stored in alternative containers. Likewise, when using sanitization products, it is crucial that you only use them as directed and avoid mixing multiple cleaners at once. Although many think that the mentality of “two is better than one” applies to cleaning products, you are better off using the first cleaner, fully wiping down and completing the first step of your process, and then using your second product after ensuring that the first one is wiped up. Mixing chemicals found in sanitizers such as chlorine bleach and ammonia have serious or even fatal consequences, therefore mixing products should be strictly avoided.

Even with storing and using your sanitizers properly, it is still important to always wear PPE while handling and using your sanitizers and tools. Common PPE for sanitization includes disposable gloves and eye protection. In the event that your PPE is compromised, and should you be exposed to harmful substances, it is important to be aware of how to handle poison exposure, including emergency eye washing, mouth rinsing, chemical burn management and more. If you follow careful sanitizer handling, storage, and usage practices, then you should never have to manage a cleaning emergency. Nevertheless, you should always be prepared for accidents to happen at any time.

Bottom Line

Every facility has cleaning needs, but the extent of those cleaning needs varies for everyone. General, but thorough cleaning is typically adequate for many spaces, but if a more complete clean is needed, sanitization is best. Sanitization goes deeper than what the human eye can see to kill and eliminate the germs and contaminants present, making the spaces and surfaces safe. Sanitization can improve your facility health and general peace of mind and can be customized to meet your industry needs or standards. If you are unsure about which type of cleaning is best for your facility, contracting the help of a professional cleaning company can help tremendously. Professional cleaners can properly assess, plan, and execute a cleaning approach that meets all your needs.

About Partner Solutions Facility Services  

With over 30 years in owners combined experience, Partner Solutions Facility Services has come together to create a company model that believes superior quality service can’t be compromised. Extensive training with intelligent supervision and ownership helps us keep a clear vision of our goals and commitment. Give us a call today for a free consultation and let us be the solution for your facility’s needs. We look forward to forming a partnership with you.  

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